LaTonya Mimms, the Transportation Specialist with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently highlighted several matters related to ELD adoption and ELD implementation at the WIT annual conference.
In this blog post, we are going to share a few highlights of her address with you.
The most important suggestion that came from LaTonya Mimms was for drivers who are still without ELDs. Mimms reminded that we are currently in the voluntary phase of the ELD mandate. After December 18, 2017, the ELD mandate will become mandatory, and drivers without ELDs will be fined and cited.
However, as of now, drivers are free to use electronic logging devices or paper logs. LaTonya Mimms suggested that drivers should use electronic logging devices before December 18, 2017.
“Drivers bracing for the upcoming electronic logging device rule should practice driving with the new units and old-fashioned paper logs.”
One of the main reasons why she suggested electronic logging devices before the compliance deadline is because drivers need to get used to how the devices operate. Moreover, when drivers use ELDs along with paper logs, they will be able to identify the time that they waste maintaining paper logs.
“I encourage people to take advantage of this during Phase 1 because it gives the driver the opportunity to get used to their device. They can see how much time they’re saving with their device as opposed to how much time they’re spending recording their hours on a paper log.”
LaTonya Mimms also discussed the different methods of ELD data transfer. As you must know, according to the FMCSA requirements, ELD vendors are required to use either telematics (web services or email) or local connectivity mediums (USB or Bluetooth connections).
Mimms reminded everyone that fleets should choose ELD solutions that rely on USB or Bluetooth connections. It is because ELDs that solely rely on a cellular network to sync data will not work in remote areas with bad cellular coverage.
Furthermore, LaTonya Mimms also discussed the issue of nominal violations.
She told everyone that nominal violations wouldn’t have a big impact. However, drivers will have to be careful not to accumulate too many nominal violations.
She said, “We understand that the ELD is going to record hours of service by the nanosecond and, therefore, the driver can exceed the hours of service by a minute. It’s a violation. It’s not a serious violation; that’s why we have the nominal hours-of-service violation to keep record of that driver going over the hours of service. If that driver continues to go over their hours of service for 10 minutes every day, that can add up to a significant hours-of-service violation by the end of the week.”
As LaTonya Mimms suggested, drivers should start using electronic logging devices as soon as possible.
It would take some time for drivers as well as fleet managers to fully understand how ELDs work. After December 18, 2017, there will be no room for error. Therefore, it is highly recommended that drivers should get familiar with ELDs before the compliance deadline.